Little Bird first appeared on Sesame Street in Season 1, and was often used as a foil to Big Bird, due to their contrasting sizes. Little Bird was a refurbished version of the Muppetised Kenner Gooney Bird, created by Jim Henson forEasy Bake Oven commercials in 1968.

Even though Little Bird is primarily performed by a female puppeteer, the character is male. The song "Mr. Big Bird, Mr. Little Bird" appears on the Grin & Giggle with Big BirdLP. The 1973 Character Style Guide from CTW also describes him as a "he." In episode 59 of The MuppetCast, Fran Brill confirmed in an e-mail that she always thought of Little Bird as a male.

Although Little Bird appeared on Sesame Street most often during the 1970s, the character continued to appear frequently in books throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He made a cameo in "Wonderful Yucky", singing about his lunch, the contents of which are wonderful to him but yucky to a passer-by. Little Bird also made a few cameo appearances during the 1980s and 1990s. On-screen appearances include a brief fly-by in the song "Do-Op Hop," at Birdland in "The Birdland Jump," and contributed a line to "We Are All Earthlings." Little Bird's most recent US puppet appearance was in a 1999 Sesame Street group shot photo (pictured).

Henson, who originated the Bird in the Kenner commercials, performed Little Bird in at least two sketches from the first season: a sketch from Episode 0028 in which he meets Big Bird, and the game show "Pick Your Pet." Although Little Bird was used sporadically on the show, he proved effective with test audiences.

Little Bird has also appeared in a sketch where a cownamed Lola tries to find a home and encounters an unsuccessful attempt to live in Little Bird's nest. In that sketch, Little Bird is performed by Jerry Nelson.

Marionette versions of Little Bird have been used often for flying scenes such as in the "Song of One," "I Whistle a Happy Tune," and "Do-Op Hop".

Little Bird's birthday is marked in Sesame Street Calendarsas December 17th.

In 2003, he was immortalized in toy for